Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

Dec 26 2015

Happy Boxing Day!

Greetings to one and all!

Contrary to some reports, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I am still alive, still thinking,  and hopefully now, able to return to writing.

My original plan had been to return to posting after we got back from the cruise. Unfortunately events took another turn and I have spent the last couple of months first traveling, then in and out of hospitals and doctors offices-as a result of that travel. I'll spare you the details, but while I was in Israel, I became violently ill. Rather than do the smart thing and go to an Israeli ER-I gutted out eight hours on a plane back to Germany. That only made things worse and I ended up going straight from the airport to the hospital.

Moral of the story? Be careful where and what you eat! And don't let yourself get dehydrated!

However, that is not all of the story. The other part was-I just did not feel like I had anything useful to say. My passion for American politics remains, however it does not take a skilled observer to point out that American politics is currently a huge mess. 2016 is going to be a critical year for the land of my birth and I am quite depressed with the prospects. I fear we , as Americans, will do our best to take a bad situation and fuck it up beyond all repair. It's what we do. I mean really, Donald Trump?

The final piece of the puzzle was doing some professional thinking about the remainder of my working life, which is not as long as it should be, or as well resourced as it needs to be.  Regrettably,  I have not been able to find my way back to Asia-but I did get some good news after my hospital stay(s) which helped balance out what was otherwise a depressing outlook in general.

And then there is the demon known as Netflix………….

Over the course of the next week I will have some prognostications regarding the upcoming year. And it is my intent to more actively discipline myself to write. We'll see how well my stick to itivness is on that subject.

Nonetheless, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukuah, and any other holiday that you are to celebrate.


5 responses so far

Aug 27 2015

Writers bloc

Not much posting. As E   @   L, points out, some of it is due to "too much time on Famebook." But most of it is due the fact, that while I have a lot of ideas, I have little desire to write them down.

Maybe I am just depressed. After all, there is a lot to be depressed about.

A sizeable number of stupid people think Donald Trump is fit to be President.

People are defending Megyn Kelly as a "responsible journalist" ( Trump is right on that one. "We have already established what you are, Madam, now we are just negotiating over price).

The other 16 members of the clown car are just as bad.

It could be because I desperately need some of this:


Or because I have not traveled in 4 weeks.

But take heart, I did not forget women's equality day. ( Which was yesterday)


No sir, I remembered it.


Just as I remembered it was National Dog Day:



But none of that helps with my writers bloc. Perhaps the urge is dying? Perish the thought!


One response so far

Feb 18 2015

Enough of this lying around stuff……….

Published by under Blogging

Brother Bluto came by to smack some sense into me and shake me out of my lethargy:


(I am in the orange sweater by the way in case you were wondering).

Its time to snap out of my funk, get back in the saddle and start lambasting stupid people again. And believe me there are plenty of stupid things to lambast stupid people about.

Posting resumes tomorrow.

6 responses so far

Feb 04 2015

Still here, just not much left to say.

Published by under Blogging

This week is my tenth blogging birthday. It is a bittersweet time for me for a bunch of reasons. First of all-it is because I am at a loss to explain recent actions I took to rather vociferously fight a pretty stupid fight. Definitely alcohol fueled-poorly thought out, but nonetheless representing of the passion I wish could still bring to blog writing. I am a passionate person-I believe strongly in the things I believe, and most importantly when I want to believe the work I have done matters. And truth be told, I am beginning to think it didn't matter. I probably, in the view of hindsight,  made some pretty wrong choices. I could be and hope I am wrong-but I wonder……….

I began this blog out of a sense of frustration responding to a huge personal disappointment in my life; created by nothing but sheer stupidity on the part of other people……..on the part of the "big bad establishment". My disgust with their simplistic trying to slot people into molds, set me off on the path of blogging to begin with. I guess I had lived a naive existence up to that point, since I had already had the pleasure of being fucked over by people who betrayed the naval ideas and ideals several years before. But there was a key point that existed when I started that does not exist now. I was having fun. I was traveling around Asia, living a life I enjoyed-and living on my terms. Following my move to shopping mall, the "fun factor" went down-but I still got to have fun including two summers in Romania. After 2011 I came here to Germany which has both been fun and not so fun for different reasons. I am happy to be overseas again.I am happy to travel as much as much as I do and where I do.

But there is also another aspect that diminishes the fun factor. 1) over ten years and you are passionate and out spoken you get outed. My post on the PR crazy Navy and its stupid pursuit of stupid headlines in 2012 was a huge torture exercise. 2) it probably does not help that I am also outspoken on social media. I want to be passionate, sharp and outspoken on social media. But as Andrew Sullivan pointed out when announced he was quitting blogging, social media has become a tyranny-and what's worse it is not a conversational media. It rewards a lack of thought.

Ezra Klein acknowledges it:

Blogging encourages interjections into conversations, and it thrives off of familiarity. Social media encourages content that can travel all on its own. … The incentives of the social web make it a threat to the conversational web. The need to create content that “travels” is at war with the fact that great work often needs to be rooted in a particular place and context — a place and context that the reader and the author already share. I think we’re getting better at serving a huge audience even as we’re getting worse at serving a loyal one.


Moreover social media thrives on demanding conformity. 

The difference is that the illiberal policing of speech, the demonizing of dissent, and extreme identity politics have now transcended the academy and arrived in social media with a vengeance. Twitter and Facebook encourage mutually reassuring groupthink, in which individuals are required to “like” anything that isn’t white, male, cisgendered etc., in which an ideology is enforced by un-friending those with other views instead of engaging them, and in which large numbers of Twitter-users can descend on a racist/sexist/homophobic etc miscreant and destroy his or her career and social life in pursuit of racial/gender/orientation “social justice”.


The right has its own version of this, of course. Many of us dissenters were purged and rendered anathema years ago. But look where that has actually left today’s GOP. It’s turned into this. And the left’s new absolutism on identity politics – now taken to an absurd degree – should, in my view, worry liberals more. Because it is a direct attack on basic liberal principles. Chait:

Politics in a democracy is still based on getting people to agree with you, not making them afraid to disagree. The historical record of political movements that sought to expand freedom for the oppressed by eliminating it for their enemies is dismal. The historical record of American liberalism, which has extended social freedoms to blacks, Jews, gays, and women, is glorious. And that glory rests in its confidence in the ultimate power of reason, not coercion, to triumph.



And in the aggregate, the combination has left me emotionally and somewhat physically drained. I want the conversation to continue- I just can't do it as often. But the sight will remain here-and I will from time to time publish.

I've been grateful for all the supporters and for the contraians who argued vehemently against me-but also kept coming back. The trolls-like those who came out in January of 2012 and on other occasions I could have done without, just like I could have done without the mediocrity the overall military and political blogosphere has descended into. I'm still passionate and I still drink-so I will probably make mistakes yet again.

Its been an interesting decade. We will see what the next year has in store. Happy Birthday to me!

20 responses so far

Jan 02 2015

Follow ups

Happy New Year to all.  Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! Kotoshi mo yorishku onegai shimasu.

I , unfortunately had a quiet new years, definitely not the one I wanted to spend skiing. You can thank the S.O. for that because of continued inabilty to make a decision and her repeated failure to recognize that money is only as good as the experiences it buys you. So while I did allow my self the pleasure of getting reasonably intoxicated and watching the fireworks displays. 

New Years day was also quiet, thanks primarily to the bad weather here-and the fact that nothing is open. I binged watched Netflix all day and evening.

When not doing that I took the opportunity to read the reaction to the Fallows article I wrote about a couple of days ago. There have been some excellent responses, many from military and former military who are not so blinded by simplistic thinking and ideology , which allowed them to see Fallow's main points and understand them-even if they did not agree with them. There are 7 follow up posts and everyone of them is worth a read. They can be found here, here, here, here, here,here, and here.

Of course there are the folks who didn't like the article and took the time and effort to use criticism to cater to their audience of sycophants.  Now mind you, it is not as if there are not things to disagree about in Fallows article, what I guess is most troubling about this one overly long and other rather short criticism is that they basically are guilty of the same thing they accuse Fallows of: ideological snobbery. Both Phibian and ID spend more time shooting the messenger than discussing the message. That's to be expected these days on the mil-blog circuit, and as I have pointed out repeatedly before, the comment sections are more about shouting down any dissenting opinions than having an honest discussion.

You can read it all yourself and you should. But in particular when you read Phibian's rather long criticism you should ask yourself if he doth protest too much. Because the answer to that question is definitely yes.

Specifically I found the following that I think should be addressed:

1) First, whether or not, Fallows was drafted or not is really not germane to a discussion of the idea of a program of national service now. And its more than a bit elitist to use whatever happened in 1969-which was by far a different time and a lot of people did not relish our continued involvement in Vietnam.  To continue to beat the tired old drum about how much one hates baby- boomers is really to miss the point.

2) For all the complaints about Fallows using so called left wing code words-Phibian does exactly the same thing.

Next are a few code words; note the use of "chickenhawk," an old school mid-00's moonbat clickbait word – the national security equivalent of "tea bagger." Usually not used by serious people in serious work, but by people who are intentionally trying to be insulting and to pick a fight. Smart move by Fallows, at it will raise the defensive barriers by all the "right" people … and therefor encourage them to keep reading while getting a nod of approval from his preferred audience ofHuffington Post readers, I guess. What he does do, and this is a shame as the topic deserves something better, is to raise a hint of a shadow of his old bugbear since the end of the first Nixon Administration, the draft (more on that later).

Next you have "careless spending." This is a tease, as most of this is just recycled arguments we all know about the amount of money we spend on DOD and what on … and for Fallows, that means getting his F-35 plushy out and beating it hard with the wiffleball bat.

"Strategic Folly" opens his review of how Obergruppenführer Wolfowitz, Darth Cheney, and Bushitler brought about the heartbreak of psoriasis because they refused to turn over the national security apparatus to the editorial board of The Atlantic and the Department of Homeland Security to Katrina vanden Heuvel's knitting circle over at The Nation.



Ummmmm. No. Chickenhawk is an excellent word to use because it quite accurately describes both the condition and the contempt that should be held for it. Serious people do use the words and for good reason-it pretty much captures the failures of those who plunged America down the rathole of the last 14 years.  No one, certainly not Fallows,  is proposing turning the National Security Apparatus over to anyone. They are asking that they be held to account for decisions that they should have known better than to make. Iraq, in particular, represents a foreign policy disaster and its not just liberals saying that. Plenty of conservatives have stated that too. 

And as for the F-35, its killing the rest of Naval Aviation. So can't we really have an honest discussion about a program that is so expensive and for the Navy at least, so un-needed?

3) Phibian takes the opportunity to extol the virtues of the "real" Americans who live in "flyover" country. First of all, contrary to what he states, its not so great. Trust me I have lived among the morons "our wonderfully diverse nation." Trust me, its not so great and if the comment section proves anything, it is not so diverse. He misses the real point that Fallows was trying to make-its also not the area where large populations of the people live.  Many areas of his "real America" are the most economically depressed however, and don't kid yourself, that had a lot to do with who volunteers and who doesn't.

Which brings us back to the idea of national service. Several excellent authors have debunked Phibian's main assertion that "We are a representative republic that has no natural need or desire for a large standing army. Neither you nor I would want to live in a republic that used the police power of the state to randomly put its citizens (due to the small numbers needed and that could be afforded, a draft would be far from universal, and an exceptionally arbitrary lottery) under bondage without an existential threat just to make a socio-political point – or as Mike Mullen puts it – force pain on the population by intentionally keeping the nation weak until crisis. Let me be clear; a draft in peace is an anathema to a free society and is tyranny without an existential threat breathing at the door. Full stop."

Back the train up. The United States is a representative nation that has a large standing Army, and has had one ever since the second World War. And no matter who is in office it will have one for at least the next 20 years or so.  It would be nice to man it more evenly-and national service is an acceptable means to do that.

Two other points. I always find it so interesting that the same generation who praise today's military leaders as being "so much better" than those of us who came in the late 70's and early 80's, finds the idea of dealing with reluctant Sailors and Soldiers so utterly frightening.  Its a cop out-and not necessarily a fair representation of their ability to lead. They could deal with it if they had to-and a lot of folks would succeed in such a military, certainly far more than would fail.

But again it misses the real point that Fallows is making. Draft or no, too many of the American people got a free pass when the nation was supposedly in an all out "long war". If not asked to serve, they did not even get asked to pay for it-through either a surcharge on something everyone uses like gasoline, or skipping tax cuts that were clearly not in the nation's interest once the war was under-way.

And don't kid yourself either, a lot of people who could serve, don't-because they don't want to take the time away from getting to be a rich executive by the time they are 35. And service is a tradeoff, and don't let anyone tell you it is not. The longer you stay, the more certain doors close. True a lot of other doors open-but it does not negate the first statement. Furthermore-he is ignoring the role of national service in paying for schooling and leveling the society, as it does in Israel.

The second point is probably the more serious. Because I think the reaction to Fallows article in certain corners actually proves his point. The military is becoming insulated from the society it serves and that is not good. And certain segments from within do hold their civilian counterparts in contempt, all protestations to the contrary.  The country is self selecting and not having the conversations it should have. The fact that folks want argue with Fallows is fine. But argue the points on their merits, not some self styled pedestal that with just a little effort you can be pulled down from. Get out of the echo chamber and see the way the world really is-not just the idealized vision you think you see.

And that, my friends is the worst thing of all with how we hold discussions these days in the blogosphere. I just had to get that out there. 

UPDATE! Fallows himself published probably the best stated analysis of the views of those who disagree with him from mil-blog land. Its a great point and sums up the stupidity of the viewpoint well:

This kind of misunderstanding, inadvertent or purposeful, goes with the territory of public debate. It foreseeably leads to a kind of tribally minded angry response. Tribal? As in: 1) this guy seems to be against us; 2) since he doesn't like us, we don't like him; 3) therefore whatever he's saying is probably wrong.

That's a minority response; I'm touched and overwhelmed, in a good way, by the volume and sophistication of the submissions I continue to receive. 



6 responses so far

Sep 28 2014

Still here, you greasy bastards.

Published by under Blogging

Two weeks without posting is obscene. I should be doing better and I resolve to do better. However in my defense, things have been busy, I've been depressed, and I've been in a funk. A real funk-and its taking me a while to work through. But make no mistake, I'm still an honest to God blogger.

Lots on my mind right now. Yet one more war in the Middle East is a good way to start. I don't know where it ends-and that troubles me greatly.

But till I can assemble my thoughts-have a great weekend.


4 responses so far

May 29 2014

Stupidity on Parade

Some things just set me off. Today was a day where I came across something quite innocently posted by someone on the old Facebook page, that when one reads it, you just have to shake your head in disgust.

Over at The Federalist, a slick conservative blog for the learning impaired, a writer named Bethany Mandel really showed her stupid chops today when she got her panties in a bunch over this Google header:(click to view properly)


Seems it really bothers her that Google would honor a woman whose book was a landmark publication at the time, created a lot of discussion and controversy, and played a key role in our understanding of the consequences of not paying attention to our environment. Somehow, that really seems to bother her.

Those who decry life-saving anti-mosquito chemicals like DDT are the kinds of progressives who call conservatives anti-science and heartless. They do so while withholding environmentally safe chemicals from saving the lives of children in the developing world. Rachel Carson and her present-day admirers throw nets at those at risk of malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses. There are charities that give them out like candy.


Next year, when Google’s doodle team thinks about what or who to honor, I invite them to spend a few nights under a suffocating net in tropical and scenic Cambodia. Experience the true legacy of Rachel Carson. After throwing off the net at 2 a.m. in order to breathe, I invite them to spend days or weeks ravaged by fever in Kantha Bopha Hospital in a non-air conditioned room with 60 other families. 


And here is the kicker-she has the gall to blame Carson for a setback that befell her-and blames it all on what Rachel Carson supposedly set into motion. After all she has a report from…….wait for it……..The Heritage Foundation to prove it. Like they are an honest broker.

Ms Mandel fashions Rachel Carson as some sort of genocidal murderer. There is just one problem with that conclusion and its typical of websites like The Federalist and morons like those who write for the Liars Club, it is not true. 

Not… one ….bit.

But never let the facts get in the way of a good wingnut tirade shall we

Google has really angered the Wingnuttospere this week. First off, on Monday, the search engine failed to put up a special doodle for Memorial Day, because Google Hates America — actually, the page did mark the day with an American flag and yellow ribbon icon, but they were too small and didn’t go up at midnight like they should have, but later in the day.* Then Tuesday, Google drew the wrath of all nine fulltime staffers of Twitchy by honoring Rachel Carson on what would have been her 107th birthday. This tribute to a known environmentalist sparked a Twitch-Fit, because of course by writing Silent Spring, a book that eventually led to the banning of DDT, Rachel Carson personally murdered millions:


Wingnuts love to distort history in any way, shape or form, so long as it makes them come out looking like the victim. Especially when the deeply disturbed people tending Breitbart's mausoleum are on the case.

Funny thing is Rachel Carson died two years after her book came out-and was never in government. How that somehow turns her into the Joseph Mengle of the 1960's is beyond me. Especially when you look at what she really believed:

Rachel Carson, who stoically weathered misinformation campaigns against her before her death from breast cancer in 1964, would find the current situation all-too predictable. As she said once in a speech after the release of Silent Spring, many people who have not read the book nonetheless “disapprove of it heartily.”


Rachel Carson never called for the banning of pesticides. She made this clear in every public pronouncement, repeated it in an hourlong television documentary about Silent Spring, and even testified to that effect before the U.S. Senate. Carson never denied that there were beneficial uses of pesticides, notably in combatting human diseases transmitted by insects, where she said they had not only been proven effective but were morally “necessary.”


“It is not my contention,” Carson wrote in Silent Spring, “that chemical insecticides must never be used. I do contend that we have put poisonous and biologically potent chemicals indiscriminately into the hands of persons largely or wholly ignorant of their potentials for harm. We have subjected enormous numbers of people to contact with these poisons, without their consent and often without their knowledge.”


Many agreed. Editorializing shortly after The New Yorker articles appeared, theNew York Times wrote that Carson had struck the right balance: “Miss Carson does not argue that chemical pesticides must never be used,” the Times said, “but she warns of the dangers of misuse and overuse by a public that has become mesmerized by the notion that chemists are the possessors of divine wisdom and that nothing but benefits can emerge from their test tubes.”


Carson did not seek to end the use of pesticides—only their heedless overuse at a time when it was all but impossible to escape exposure to them. Aerial insecticide spraying campaigns over forests, cities, and suburbs; the routine application of insecticides to crops by farmers at concentrations far above what was considered “safe;” and the residential use of insecticides in everything from shelf paper to aerosol “bombs” had contaminated the landscape in exactly the same manner as the fallout from the then-pervasive testing of nuclear weapons—a connection Carson made explicit in Silent Spring.


Furthermore-a lot of scientific evidence backed up her contentions. Kind of like the debate about climate change today, there is a dedicated body of folks, like the writers at The Federalist, who seem content to just spew out garbage and hope no one calls them on it. My hope in this post is to call them the contemptible liars they are. For example, I am at a loss to understand why Carson is somehow to blame for the deaths of children when she herself is gone and DDT is not banned. Seems Ms Mandel missed that little detail:

At one level, these articles send a comforting message to the developed world: Saving African children is easy. We don’t need to build large aid programs or fund major health initiatives, let alone develop Third World infrastructure or think about larger issues of fairness. No, to save African lives from malaria, we just need to put our wallets away and work to stop the evil environmentalists.

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy.

For one thing, there is no global DDT ban. DDT is indeed banned in the U.S., but malaria isn’t exactly a pressing issue here. If it ever were, the ban contains an exception for matters of public health. Meanwhile, it’s perfectly legal—and indeed, used—in many other countries: 10 out of the 17 African nations that currently conduct indoor spraying use DDT (New York Times, 9/16/06).

DDT use has decreased enormously, but not because of a ban. The real reason is simple, although not one conservatives are particularly fond of: evolution. Mosquito populations rapidly develop resistance to DDT, creating enzymes to detoxify it, modifying their nervous systems to avoid its effects, and avoiding areas where DDT is sprayed — and recent research finds that that resistance continues to spread even after DDT spraying has stopped, lowering the effectiveness not only of DDT but also other pesticides.(Current Biology, 8/9/05).

And even if you do agree with Ms Mandel ( and you are a moron if you do), the book was still a landmark incident of the 60's and worthy of historic recognition. Somehow Ms. Mandel seems to ignore that. Probably because, writing inside the wingnut echo chamber, perspective and context are things that easily get lost. Certainly it works out well for her. She gets to publish inaccurate precepts, her readership is generally too stupid to know better, and so in turn they spread it around to all their right thinking friends.

This is why we can't have nice things. 

She marking them begins a wailing note And sings extemporally a woeful ditty How love makes young men thrall and old men dote How love is wise in folly, foolish-witty Her heavy anthem still concludes in woe, And still the choir of echoes answer so. (William Shakespeare)

One response so far

Feb 03 2014

Traveliing again

On the road again-had a challenging journey yesterday to the other side of the Atlantic. To start with my ICE train to the Frankfurt Airport was going to be delayed by 90 minutes. That was a non starter as it was going to make me late for check in-and my requisite need to "pre-charge" in the lounge. ( The new Lufthansa lounges in the Z terminal of FRA are pretty sweet). Went to the Deutsche Bahn office and got re-routed to an IC train which was taking me to the Frankfurt Main station.

I made it in a ok amount of time-but then using LH's check in kiosks caused a bit of problem when it refused to read my passport. The newest EU immigrant manning the kiosk line-seemed not to grasp the fact that I need to go to a counter where a human could check my passport. Finally got that worked out-and by the grace of God the security line was very short. Landed safely in the lounge.

Then after boarding the plane-saw the change to get an open aisle seat with out someone next to me. Snagged it and figured things were looking up! But I spoke too soon.

The plane required maintenance that delayed us by almost an hour. Now this was a problem because I was hoping to make it time to get in a combat nap at the hotel prior to Super Bowl kickoff. Now I would be lucky to make the kickoff-much less the first quarter.

It turned out ok-made it to my room just as national anthem was being sung. Turns out, of course, I need not have bothered-the game was a Seahawk blowout. They slaughtered the Bronco's, who appeared to have left any offense they had back in Denver.


On a serious note, James Fallows has been running an excellent series of articles about the use of Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg. "About the service and sacrifice of this brave man and other men and women like him, we cannot say enough." But as Fallows points out-ALL of us should be outraged that he had to make TEN deployments to the various hellholes America has chosen to fight its war without end in. Furhtermore, there is a dichotomy of purpose when you have the architects of a failed policy somehow applauding him-while failing to do the things that might have prevented his suffering in the first place.

The vast majority of us play no part whatsoever in these prolonged overseas campaigns; people like Sgt. Remsburg go out on 10 deployments; we rousingly cheer their courage and will; and then we move on. Last month I mentioned that the most memorable book I read in 2013 was Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain. It's about a group of U.S. soldiers who barely survive a terrible encounter in Iraq, and then are paraded around in a halftime tribute at a big Dallas Cowboys game. The crowd at Cowboys Stadium cheers in very much the way the Capitol audience did last night—then they get back to watching the game.


Later Fallows examines the implications in clearer detail.

There was another moment in the speech that I think will look worse in the long view. It was the emotionally charged ending, the tribute to the obviously courageous and grievously wounded Sergeant Cory Remsburg.

The moment was powerful human and political drama; it reflected deserved credit and gratitude on Remsburg and his family; and as I wrote earlier today, I think it was entirely sincere on the president's part, as a similar tribute would have been from his predecessor George W. Bush. With the significant difference that Bush initiated the wars these men and women have fought in, and Obama has been winding them down. And so the most favorable reading of the moment, as John Cassidy has argued, is that the president was trying to dramatize to the rest of the government the human cost of the open-ended wars many of them have egged on.

But I don't think that's how it came across to most of the Congress, or was processed by the commentariat. This was not presented as a "never again" moment; it was a "this is America's finest!" moment—which Cory Remsburg himself, and with his family, certainly is. (Also see Peter Beinart on this point.) For America as a whole, the episode did not show us at our finest. In the earlier item, I tried to explain why these few minutes will reflect badly on us and our times when our children's children view them years from now. Since the explanation was buried at the end of a long post, I repeat it at the end of this one.

A Congress that by default is pressuring the country toward war, most recently with Iran, and that would not dream of enacting either a special tax or any kind of enforced or shared service to sustain these wars, gives a prolonged, deserved ovation for a person who has dedicated his all to the country. Tears well up in many eyes; the cheering persists; the admiration for this young man is profound. Then everyone moves right on.

Years from now, people can play this clip and see something about the culture of our times. It's a moment of which only the Remsburg family will be proud. 


His long exploration of the historical allusions is also worth a read.

Lunch is over-gotta get back to work. Hope it does not snow tonight.


6 responses so far

Oct 28 2013

Spam Attack!

Published by under Blogging

Important safety tip. When upgrading your blog software-check to make sure your plugins all reactivate properly. Mine did not and we got a WAVE of Spam here last night. Still trying to get all the bogus comments out of the system.

Should be fixed by tomorrow.

No responses yet

May 16 2013

I have seen the whole of the internet…..

And trust me-its not pretty.

I have been in a very pessimistic mood lately. I think it has a lot to do with the transactional nature of the interactions we have with others on the internet. I’ll expand upon that in a couple of paragraphs, but it has me wondering whether the time has come to unplug entirely.  It would probably return a lot of time to me-but that said, I am not sure how I would use it. In the vernacular it is known by the more descriptive term, committing Internet suicide.

NOTE: Please not the word “Internet” in front of the “S” word. I am not mentally disturbed and will not do anything towards my real existence.

I first read about it in a computer article. Internet Suicide is the act of removing your online presence from cyberspace.

Sick of horribly embarrassing things showing up when potential employers Google your name? Tired of everyone knowing you live in a garden level dungeon apartment? Perhaps you just don't like the fact the internet makes you easy to find. Thankfully, it's not that hard to delete yourself entirely. Here's how to do it.

As most bloggers eventually discover, it’s hard to blog in anonymity forever. A lot of people now know my “real” identity and I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is the idea that people think they have a right to make comprehensive value judgments about a person based on solely on what one discusses or argues about on Facebook, in a blog, or on Twitter or any other venue. I am a lot more complex than that-and I think most people are the same way. Yet as I have pointed out in several humorous posts and not so humorous posts-gone on long enough-any internet discussion that goes on, spirals down into an angry oblivion. Especially in today’s politically polarized society. It is a coarsening factor in our American society-and its creating a lot of the political problems that we now have to deal with. Blogs and people were supposed to be better than that. Sadly, they are not.

The herd mentality is alive and well in the world of the blogosphere-a lot more so than when I started blogging back in 2005. The popular response is that “well both sides do it-it is not just a conservative thing”. That’s true-but there are differences between the way conservatives and liberals approach the tactics of internet discussions. Definitions of “civilized discussion” differ a lot. One man’s mannerly discussion is another man’s gang beating.

Conservatives tend to believe in moral absolutes a lot more than liberals seem to. Liberals-not near as much. ( Which is probably why they are liberal-they have seen the world and discovered the hard way that , in general, things are not simply black and white-but rather an overriding shade of gray).

Another thing is that conservatives hate it when you dismiss the source of their information. They come at you saying you are not discussing the main points or “dealing with issues”. I am sorry-in many cases the source is the issue. If you are quoting from Breitbart, the National Review, or several other sources-it means the veracity of the material you cite is suspect to begin with. Sorry, but it is true. There are many sources on the internet-not all of them are good. It is perfectly acceptable to be dismissive of the trash that resides in over half of Memeorandum. Liberals, I feel are not burdened so much-mainly because they place a higher value on providing scrutiny of sources anyway. The “well MSNBC is biased too” argument grows tiresome-they forget that MSNBC is not nearly as successful as Fox is. And as Jon Stewart loves to point out, they have not made it an art form to complain about control of content-while at the same time being the biggest practitioners of it.

One thing I have always been slow to recognize is that there are simply some people that can never be convinced-no matter how hard you try. These people live to make trouble and they love to reinforce their own self worth by trashing the merit of the other person. It has gotten me into online trouble far too often. More so in my early years of Facebooking and Blogging-but it still happens now.  The ideal solution to such a situation is never to play at all-or walk away early. It is not cowardly to that-its actually the more prudent path. Especially,  when you have been drinking. I have a hard time remembering that and I really need to do so. There are a lot of supremely self confident people out there who have perfect lives and hate your life because it does not meet their predetermined moral standard. It must be nice to have that level of self confidence. I know I don’t and certainly don’t place much value in their moral judgments anyway.

At some point, I believe, you have to come to peace with your internet personality-and accept yourself for who you are and be comfortable with who you are on line. If others don’t like that-it is their problem, not yours –and if that means you have to resort to the block button to regain some peace and sanity, then so be it. It’s a lot better than getting an ulcer. So I have made a resolution to be more comfortable in my own internet skin. I am who I am –and more importantly-you are never going to be me. So stop trying to tell me how to live my life.

If you are looking for a point in this post, there really isn’t one. I am writing to work through my own issues and and I am allowing you to be my “counselor” –so relax and enjoy the ride. This is nothing more than "a steam of my conciousness" post. I get to do that from time to time. Unlike the people in the lovely land of certitude-I do not believe in moral certitudes or self confidence. Such is the lot of the man of thought.

Help me to always give 100% at work
12% on Monday.
23% on Tuesday.
40% on Wednesday.
20% on Thursday.
5% on Friday.

And help me to remember…
When I'm having a really bad day,
and it seems that people are trying to piss me off,
that it takes 42 muscles to frown and only 4…
to extend my middle finger and tell them to bite me!

One response so far

Feb 21 2013

A missed birthday.

Published by under Blogging

My blogger birthday was this month. I failed to celebrate it-some of it by accident, some of it by design.

I began this blog out of a sense of frustration responding to a huge personal disappointment in my life; created by nothing but sheer stupidity on the part of other people-who then,  as was recently demonstrated here-thought they had some sort of God -given right to interfere with my life. They didn't then-and they most certainly don't today. My disgust with their simplistic trying to slot people into molds, set me off on the path of blogging to begin with. That particular personal disappointment was a “Y” of sorts in my life-and the path taken since then, was definitely the one less traveled by. But it has been, on the whole,  pretty interesting. It has made, "all the difference".

Nonetheless, I am beginning to think that the life of this blog may have run its course. It is becoming harder and harder to write about American politics now. First of all the overall level of knowledge about the facts of American politics among many readers is approaching an all time low. One gets forced to having to drive home the same points over and over-and to what I end I cannot tell you. Among a certain segment of the population, there is simply the will "not to believe". This coupled with the increasing demands on my schedule leave me drained at the end of the day-still filled with ideas, but no energy to set them down on the screen.

Furthermore, as has been proven by several popular and formerly popular conservative military bloggers, there is not a "two way street" when it comes to active, emotionally charged discussion. Take, for example, the complete hissy fits that some on that side of the aisle throw-when the term "teabagger" is used. They become downright obnoxious about it. They whine and moan about how "disgusting" it is-when it is clearly a great way to show well deserved contempt for an organization that deserves to be held in contempt. And besides, the term pales in comparison to the words they use in opposition. Don't believe me? Take a stroll on over to Uncle Dumbo's, or to some of the other "high regard" military bloggers and read the swill that circulates among their commenting class. It makes the word teabagger look like a kindergarten word. And they always seem to conveniently forget, its a term the Tea Party originally coined for themselves.

Then there is the other sage bit of advice that has been given to me by military bloggers-that I should not take all of this so personally. " I should learn to better 'control my anger'. Its not good for my physical and emotional health". Oh really? Why don't you tell me something I don't know? 

How about the opposite idea? That there is an obligation to call a spade a spade-and to call out lies for the lies they are. A group of narrow minded selfish children are seeking to undermine the country of my birth, one that I will be forever linked to, and I am not supposed to be angry about it? How does that work exactly? Can someone explain it to me?

I sometimes envy the unaware. They drift blissfully through life, paying no attention to the events of the world swirling around them.  What troubles me about there attitude is that they though they pay no attention-the danger to them and the life they lead is still very real. The S.O. is one of those people. She is wrapped up in the many domestic details while ignoring the bigger picture. ( and ignoring her womanly duties.:(). 

The problem is, I can't be that way. Politics and its effects and aftermaths are important to me-and I am passionately interested. Even though in the grand scheme of things my viewpoints are having little impact and are not really swaying anyone's long held belief. Furthermore-while I would like to make a difference in American electoral politics, there are not enough Skycaps to get all of my baggage to the curb. Any run for an elected office back in the US would be aborted before it began. Primarily because of the false moral certitude so many Americans seem to convey.  So I am there also trapped-stuck to be an observer and a commenter with no way to change the path the bus I am strapped into goes, as it heads down the road . Eventually to careen over  a cliff.

So together-this combination of factors leaves me, as a writer, mentally and emotionally tired. And in a fit of despair so deep-I don't know how to describe it.  I shouldn't care.

But I do. 

And I want to give voice to my anger.

Because despite the rhetoric-I don't believe in "2nd Amendment solutions".

So,  this little piece of the internet is my place to shout at the rain.

It's mine, and I know I am right. I know that  with a steadfast conviction.

So while you may not see me as often-armed with the knowledge of the preceding statement-I will feel compelled to continue.

And so I shall.

So I guess you are stuck with me for another year.

Aren't you the lucky one? :P


6 responses so far

Nov 24 2012

Breitbart still sucks

Charles Johnson has observed on several occasions that while the late, not so dearly departed, Andrew Breitbart was well and truly one of the United States' biggest morons-the children who write in his stead can top it.


Sure enough, Breitbrat Ben Shapiro’s moronic attack on President Obama’s Thanksgiving address was rapidly picked up by the rest of the right wing Fake Outrage Machine. The Daily Caller has this article based on Shapiro’s post: Obama Thanksgiving Address: Calls to Unite Behind WH, Doesn’t Thank God.

Watch how the Daily Caller’s Christopher Bedford blatantly slants the story against President Obama, saying he “urged the country to unite behind his administration” twice, even though the actual quote from Obama’s speech says no such thing.


And true to form-the members of the Liars Club, led by Jim Hoft; the "Dumbest Man on the Internet" picked right up on it.

John Hinderaker, Jim Hoft, William Jacobson, the Town Hall Harlot: Michelle Malkin-who is spending the weekend looking down on Wal Mart protestors for having the audacity to publicly point out the company could do more for its workers-and of course lets not forget the collective stupidity that is Breitbart. They are all contemptible people. As stupid and vile as you might expect.

One response so far

Oct 20 2012

Looking for someone to blame

Whenever I get depressed about the sad state of American politics-which in the month of October is just about every day-I don't have to look far for people who should be held to blame for polarizing our politics.

The collective group of idiots who populate the Liars Club.

To review, the Liars Club is that group of conservative bloggers,who no matter what the subject is, will ensure that whatever story they post on their blog is casting the current President of the United States in the worst possible light-and casting themselves in a light of "brilliance". Or at least that is how they want you think they are. They consist of the National Review, Powerline, Gateway Pundit AKA Jim Hoft, also known in saner circles as the "dumbest man on the internet", William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, Weasel Zippers, Jammie Wearing Fools ( the last word is a correct title-they are fools),  any Town Hall author-but especially Hugh Hewitt. And last but not least, the emotionally crippled children who carry on the legacy of their thankfully expired namesake-Andrew Breitbart.

All of them are quite useless and all of them to figuratively to be beaten to death with a Louisville Slugger.

When they can't find anything news worthy to tar and feather the President or any other Democratic Party member about-they just make shit up.

What probably depresses me the most is that -one can just know when one reads a tag line by them on Memeorandum, that they are completely and certifiably insane. While they all have different day jobs-some are professional   hacks "journalists", others are part time writers-but they are all certifiably stupid. I hate them all with a well deserved passion.

They are as John Cole describes it, Serious Persons:

Serious Person- Also frequently appearing as “Very serious person,” this is applied to a person held in great esteem by The Village, who is repeatedly entirely wrong about everything, usually with tragicomic results. Conversely, those who have pretty much been right about everything the last twenty years are referred to as “not serious.” Serious persons believe the only solution to any foreign policy issue is bombing brown people (preferably Muslim, when at all possible), and the only solution to domestic affairs is cutting entitlements and demanding that the poor and working poor “sacrifice.” 



In other words, they have no fucking clue what they are talking about. Nor do they have any idea at all the world has changed and its not going back to the 80's-EVER.

Why do I hold them to blame? Because they write for an audience that clearly is as ignorant as they appear to be. Notice I say appear to be-because deep down they know what they are doing. They have no desire to have an honest discussion about anything. Their sole purpose in writing is not to celebrate the joy of communicating a well thought idea. And to take the time to do some research about it. Or to even pause to write about the truly beautiful things in life that have nothing to do with politics.

No they do what they do for the purpose of getting people angry. They want their supporters to be angry at the nasty black man in the White House. They want people like me-smarter than any of them-to get angry in return. And then if I write something that actually catches them in their lie-or points out again how they love to lie-they will simply turn up the volume and make it about me and/or some aspect of my personal life.  They truly are reprehensible people.

They exert too much influence in American politics today-and sadly the news media by and large seems to take cues from them. In the case of Fox News, they appear to get story lines from them.

And they get away with it. They shouldn't but they do-because too many Americans are stupid. Right Charles Pierce?

The threat to the country, and to its commitment to self-governing democracy over the previous decade, and especially at the end of it, when the institutions of self-government seemed powerless to stop a cascade of destruction brought down on all of us by the institutions of private capital, the strength of which most of us never had begun to guess. That, through lassitude and a nearly bottomless thirst for snake oil, we had been complicit in the coring out of the strength of the institutions of self-government seemed terribly beside the point at the time, given the ruin that seemed to be looming to all points of the compass. But now, in the first real election conducted entirely after the crisis, and after the depths of the recession that it caused, we do not have that luxury anymore. The stakes are plainly clear. The decision, at this point, may well be irrevocable, and the first opportunity to make that decision is in the simple act of voting, and of explaining to ourselves why we vote. We vote because it is something we do together, for one another. We do not vote to take something back from someone else. We do not vote in a bubble, even if we think we do. Voting is communal, whether we want to look at it that way or not. We will have a self-governing political commonwealth or we will decide not to have one. And, right now, 20 days out, you'd have to be crazy or Nate Silver to think you know what which way that decision will fall.

The lies of the aforementioned members have a lot to do with that. And so I place the blame squarely on them-and hate them with a fervor that will be a flame unrequited until they are exposed as the charlatans they truly are.

10 responses so far

Sep 26 2012

The Breitbart legacy ( and its not a good one).

Published by under Blogging,Hypocrites

Andrew Breitbart died last March. Sadly, his media outlet, the Breitbart blogs, did not join him in death. They, sadly, continue on, providing dishonest commentary at every turn.

My Canadian Counterpart has a great post up pointing out the details. It is worth the read-because one can never be reminded too much of what a charlatan Breitbart was, and the corrosive effect he had on the politics of the United States.

As Buckley or George Will have repeatedly demonstrated over the decades, there is no shortage of serious and factual ways to criticize liberals. But with the ascendancy of Breitbart, it became okay to mislead, selectively edit and, when all else failed, lie outright. He and his followers regularly engaged in hysterical rhetoric that more closely resembled what you would have heard from Democratic activists in the 1960s and 70s.

However, nothing succeeds quite like success, so Breitbartism spread like wildfire, first through the Tea Party, then the GOP as a whole. If you know anything about history or political science, it's virtually impossible to take these people seriously. People whose intellectual forefathers (and I use the word "intellectual" advisedly) were castigated and shunted aside by Buckley are increasingly taking over the movement and driving it into the ground so rapidly that it staggers the imagination.

Especially enjoyable is description of the current bunch of hacks who are carrying on the big boy's legacy:

You haven't heard much from the Breitbart Empire since its founder's passing in March. This is mostly because Andrew himself was a showman. He knew how to play the media and make it pay attention. Without him, all that's left is paranoid raving on a very flashy and expensive blog. It's writers are little more than a collection of intellectual misfits (emphasis added by me) who regularly insult the intelligence of anyone with a high school diploma. Oh, and they have a few radio talk show hosts, just to make sure that folks who didn't make it through high school get their intelligence insulted.

Sums up everything you ever needed to know about those folks quite well. Read the whole post-its a treat.

No responses yet

Jul 22 2012

Why blogs suck…….

Published by under Blogging

Especially those that pride themselves on the "high caliber of their discussion"-and the "fine people on their front porch".  Fortunately I jumped in the gutter from the start-so I have no such lofty ambitions.

But this post-by my Canadian Counterpart-quite accurately describes why the collective blogosphere is a huge failure. Like every major internet outlet for public expression, the blogosphere has been hijacked by those who care nothing for it. Just about every outlet for public discussion on the internet has been ruined by stupidity, and that is quite true in blogs that call themselves "Mil-blogs". And yes Uncle Dumbo-that includes you.

Blogs in general, suck. This place less than others perhaps-but the symptoms of the disease are here as elsewhere. Here at Far East Cynic HQ, however , we do strive to be accurate-which is about the only thing keeping us going. But the pissy idiots like Erik Erikson, 3/4 of the mil-blogs, just about all of the major political blogs and even some of the expat ones-all have tested positive for incurable echo chamber syndrome.

Look, I know how to be successful, influential blogger who has lots of readers and makes money from their work. It isn't hard, really.

You always, always reinforce what your audience already believes and never challenge those core assumptions, regardless of how intellectually inconsistent or ridiculous they might be. You keep your posts under 800 words, which obliterates the possibility of putting anything that happened before last month in some kind of historical context, You mercilessly attack the other side, while justifying or ignoring the excesses of your own. Of course, if you can find a marginal cartoon character, like Jeremiah Wright or David Duke on your own side to denounce, that makes you look "fair." Whatever you do, make sure that cartoon character isn't Sarah Palin, lest you be denounced as "sexist" by people who spent sixteen years making Hillary Clinton jokes.

You link-whore relentlessly, and suck up to folks with audiences larger than your own. And you never disagree with your own side in public, no matter how damaging to your credibility doing so might be. Look at the high level of support George W. Bush had among very conservative Republicans during his spending spree and military adventurism, or the very liberal support for Bill Clinton during his corporatist term in office. Then look to what those former supporters say about them now.

It is a bigger trend really, and affects all major internet outlets.  Twitter? Useless except for really famous people to get in trouble with. Nothing meaningful I know can be said in 140 characters or less-and besides who follows average nobodies like me? Facebook? Yea, that's rich.  Here's a test-try to have a meaningful discussion with a "friend" who loves the teabaggers has gone to the dark side. It will simply lead to a gang fight-and no meaningful discussion will be accomplished. Do it enough and you learn quickly to move to stupid pictures of people on vacation, cars, any other innocuous thing. Out of fear mostly.

Major Media comments? Most require registration-and then spam comes your way as a result.

Its all a 100% , gold plated,  failure.

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